Iowa GOP Chairman Resigns

March 10, 2014

The leader of the Republican Party of Iowa announced without explanation Saturday that he will resign later this month, signaling a new direction for a party beset with divisions in recent years.

Iowa GOP Chairman A.J. Spiker will step down “effective upon election of a new state chairman” on March 29, a party news release said.

The news came on the same day that the influence on the Iowa GOP from the “liberty” faction, of which Spiker was a part, was significantly diminished as mainstream Republicans turned out in force at county party conventions to reclaim dominance.

The majority of GOP state convention delegates elected Saturday were backers of Gov. Terry Branstad. They showed up in large numbers to the county conventions, the sometimes-tedious events typically frequented by only the most die-hard activists.

Branstad’s re-election campaign led an aggressive push to get more Republicans to turn out to the neighborhood and county meetings where the people who influence party business are elected.

It was a reaction to a well-organized takeover by the liberty faction two years ago, and could have implications for the 2016 presidential race. Some Iowa Republicans had worried that certain GOP presidential candidates might not feel welcome in Iowa if the “liberty” Republicans continued to control party headquarters.

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